Review: Star Trek: The Video Game

Apparently delayed to coincide with Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek: The Video Game (it’s just called “Star Trek”, but that could get confusing) brings us a story set shortly before the second film set in the alternate universe created by JJ Abrams. The new Enterprise and the main cast are there – each with the film actors providing the voices, along with new locations to see.

On a patrol to New Vulcan, Captain Kirk discovers that an experimental device built to speed up the process of city-building (which would otherwise take generations) has caused a rip in space. A deadly enemy have travelled through this rip in order to conquer new planets – the Gorn. Now, these Gorn aren’t your traditional men in rubber suits, they take the form of many different varieties to play different roles (their vast difference to the ones in The Original Series and Enterprise is actually explained, too). Kirk and Spock work together to stop them and save the galaxy.

The dialogue between Kirk and Spock is extremely well done, with great performances from Pine and Quinto. They’ve become good buddies since the events of the first film and use every opportunity to take a jab at each other (Spock’s vulcan wit is very well done). The rest of the crew have much smaller roles, with Uhura having nothing to do (which is probably why Saldana sounds bored). The story of the Gorn is also interesting, as are the new characters on New Vulcan – along the way you can also find logs to learn some extra background information.

The gamepaly is like a third person shooter, and is unfortunately quite linear. There are some hidden objects to scan and a couple of alternate routes, but for the most part it’s all in one direction. Thankfully, the level design is great and some locations look stunning, despite the game’s rough graphics. you have your main phaser with kill and stun settings – there are infected vulcans and humans that you are encouraged to stun – along with a variety of starfleet, vulcan and gorn weaponry. While some of these weapons are impressive, you’ll likely find yourself sticking to the phaser.

Some sections will ask to to play stealthily, with the reward of extra experience. These are completely optional as you can go all-guns-blazing if you want. The stealth sections are difficult and each “stealth room” is like a puzzle to be solved – it can take many attempts to work out the correct route and pattern and you will fail a lot. When you succeed, however, it feels rewarding.

Star Trek is designed around co-op and offers offline and online options. The game is much harder playing on your own, mainly due to the barely competent AI partner (some people have reported it stopping completely at times, luckily I have yet to experience that problem). The AI will do their job in puzzles and is actually decent at saving your life when you get knocked down.

One problem with the game is the bugs. Sometimes you may have to restart a checkpoint due to a bug beyond your control, some enemies will be floating in the sky and some animation is choppy (opening doors together has clipping issues). Thankfully, these bugs aren’t common enough to ruin the enjoyment of the game in co-op, but they really should have been sorted out by now.

Star Trek has some really nice ideas, a good story and great pacing – one highlight is exploring a cave in between two action-heavy levels, which feels very Trek – and the obligatory fight-to-the death has an amazing achievement that only one person in co-op can gain. The new areas of the Enterprise you see – such as the warp core and sick bay, really shows a sense of scale that you are on a large starship – sickbay isn’t a tiny room with three or four beds, it’s a small hospital.

Unfortunately, the AI and bugs let it down. With a slightly bigger budget and some bug fixes, this could have been an amazing game. As it stands, it’s a good, fun experience with some annoying issues. If you and a friend like games and Star Trek, you’ll likely have a blast playing it, but if you’re on your own or don’t like the subject matter, I can’t recommend it.

Presentation: 7/10

Despite some very rough graphics and choppy animation, some of the levels can be really impressive. On top of that, there is some great voice acting and music.

Story: 8/10

Kirk and Spock are done extremely well, the new characters are good, the gorn are really well done and the overall plot is very interesting. Background information from logs is also a nice addition.

Polish: 3/10

The issues and bugs, along with the AI partner, really bring this game down.

Gameplay: 7/10

There are some great gameplay ideas in this game, and they work well once you’ve worked out how they work. The game’s explanations aren’t great, but experimentation will help you learn the game.

Singleplayer: 5/10

The AI causes issues, making the game a lot less fun to play.

Multiplayer: 8/10

Co-op is wonderful in this game, with both online and splitscreen options.

Overall: 7/10

Some great ideas, a well executed story and the fun in co-op makes Star Trek a very enjoyable game. If you don’t have a co-op partner, then knock off a few points.

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